Rangers future unclear as McCoist focuses on here and now

IT is difficult to predict with any real accuracy what the immediate future holds for Rangers.

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Dean Shiels scored for Gers but it was not enough to claim win
Dean Shiels scored for Gers but it was not enough to claim win

The renewal of season tickets has, by the admission of chief executive Graham Wallace, been "slow".

And if there is a significant reduction in the numbers signing up to see the Gers at Ibrox next season, it will have serious implications.

Administration II is even, despite an optimistic prognosis from Wallace in his business review, a distinct possibility.

So, it is hard to say with any degree of certainty what state the club will be in when players return for pre-season in the middle of next month.

Will supporters continue to be at loggerheads with those in charge? Will there have been another change of regime? Will peace have broken out at long last?

It really is anybody's guess. So the Light Blues players and supporters were right to enjoy themselves as they brought the curtain down on the 2013/14 campaign.

Who knows what lies ahead for this group, for Fraser Aird, Cammy Bell, Ian Black, Jon Daly, Nicky Law et al, and their club in the weeks and months ahead?

The off-field unrest shows no signs of abating and with South Africa-based businessman Dave King and others urging fans to pool their season ticket cash, more turmoil appears certain.

Rangers dropped points for the first time away from home in League One this season when they slumped to a 1-1 draw with Dunfermline on Saturday.

Despite achieving their ambition and completing their league programme unbeaten, it must have felt like a defeat to Ally McCoist's charges as they left the field at East End Park.

But few teams in history have achieved such a feat and, when the pain of their final result has eased, they can look back on their accomplishment with pride.

McCoist said: "After the game we were disappointed, of course we were. But when you think about it, to get 33 wins and three draws in 36 games is fantastic.

"The most important thing was getting through the game without defeat and go through the entire league season undefeated. I told the boys all the staff are unbelievably proud of them.

"You can only beat the opposition that is put in front of you. If somebody had said to us at the start of the season that we would go through the league without losing we would have thought it impossible."

McCoist, whose side was unable to prevent a second-half strike by Dean Shiels being cancelled out by Lewis Martin, has refused to get drawn into the stand-off between the fans and the board.

However, he was unable to ignore the red card protest staged by the travelling support in the 18th and 72nd minutes of the match through in Fife.

Flyers distributed to fans entering the ground read: "Yet again we have been let down by the board with broken promises about the 120-day review. It was overdue and underwhelming."

Anti-board chants, too, were belted out intermittently by Gers fans in the 7,605-strong crowd as the team toiled to give them anything to cheer about on the park.

It was all a reminder, as if one was needed, that a sizeable number of the Rangers support remain deeply disenchanted with the current custodians and their stewardship.

The Rangers manager has been unable to focus solely on football matters this season and would dearly like to see the off-field unrest somehow brought to an end.

McCoist said: "Obviously, the fans aired their views once again and they are entitled to their opinions.

"I am just hopeful it can all get sorted out."

The frustration of the Rangers players was palpable towards the end of an unimpressive performance and Bilel Mohsni once again let his emotions get the better of him.

The 26-year-old was jeered and goaded by the home team's fans after the final whistle blew and gesticulated wildly at them as he left the field.

It was conduct unbecoming of a Rangers player.

Off the field, the centre-half is a charming, friendly and popular individual.

On it, he is a committed and capable player. But his behaviour all too frequently lets him down.

If he behaves like he did at the weekend, in what was essentially a meaningless end-of-season outing, then how will he will handle the bigger challenges which lie ahead?

There will be huge matches in front of thousands of supporters against full-time opposition, including against old adversaries Hearts, in the Championship next term.

How will Mohsni cope with them if he loses the plot in what was effectively a nothing game?

Can he be trusted not to crack? Is he becoming a liability? These are among many issues just now which must be a serious concern for his manager.

McCoist stressed he would speak to his wayward star - for the umpteenth time since he signed him on a free transfer last summer - about his temperament.

But it is no surprise he is looking forward to a well-earned holiday with his family after the mental and physical exertions of the season just ended.

He will need to be rested for the season that is to come.

Football

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